This week Beth Israel Deaconess CEO Paul Levy did something unusual for a CEO. When faced with layoffs he asked his employees for ideas on what the hospital could do to protect lower wage earning employees– the hard working transporters, food service workers, housekeepers.
That’s right, asked an auditorium full of employees for their ideas. Talk about respecting your people and valuing their counsel.
And, boy, did he get ideas. A floor or nurses unanimously volunteered to give up their pay raise. A finance guy suggested working a day less a week. The ideas kept coming after the meeting — almost 100 emails an hour to the CEO.
Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wrote a beautiful column today about Levy’s bold leadership step, “A head with a heart.” Don’t miss it. Levy is an example of leadership for a new era, where CEOs trust, embrace and collaborate with employees to together do what’s best for all. Where participation creates solutions far more creative and accepting than those in the old command-and-control model.
“Paul Levy is trying something revolutionary, radical, maybe even impossible. He is trying to convince the people who work for him that the E in CEO can sometimes stand for empathy.”